With titles in three of the world’s most important GT racing series, countless other victories in championships and individual events, as well as a successful start in Formula E, the prize givers had a busy night last night at the annual Night of Champions.
The headline news out of the event is that Porsche is as committed as ever to motorsport as we continue our GT offensive again in 2020. At the blue riband event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche again campaigns four works cars. The two championship-winning teams from the FIA WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech Championship again join forces and will each field two of the ca. 515 hp 911 RSR (2019 model year).
The US racing scene also plays an important part in Porsche's programme. For the 2020 season, the 911 RSR racer will be driven by Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). The regular drivers will be supported at the longest races of the season at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans by Matt Campbell (Australia). Sharing driving duties in the No. 912 car are the two champions Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), the #BamThoor duo. Mathieu Jaminet (France) joins the team at the endurance events.
It was also the end of an era for two of Porsche's most long-serving drivers. Timo Bernhard and “Mister 911” Jörg Bergmeister, who are among the most successful sports car drivers of all time and won the championship titles in the Carrera Cup and Supercup twenty years ago, aren't going too far, however, as they both continue as Porsche brand ambassadors. Our tribe leader, Mark Webber, has also extended his ambassadorial contract for a further two years.
In other news, Porsche continues its customer support strategy in international GT racing. Instead of fielding factory squads in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the Blancpain GT Series, the GTD category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as well as regional GT championships, Porsche will support various customer teams by supplying drivers, engineers and consulting services at the racetracks.
The Night of Champions also saw two more awards handed out. The first was to Alan Brynjolfsson and was for the Porsche Cup, a trophy presented to the most successful Porsche private driver in the world. The Porsche Cup is based on Ferry Porsche's idea and has been handed out every year since 1970. All national and international drivers are eligible - so long as they raced in a car manufactured or recognised by Porsche. Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche, presented the award to Brynjolfsson, who earned points in the USA in the Pirelli GT4 America and the Michelin Pilot Challenge. This is the first time a 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport driver has claimed the trophy. Last year’s winner Christian Ried received 30,000 Euros in prize money for second place, with Trent Hindman from America taking home 25,000 Euros for third.
The second award was to Joshua Rogers as champion of the Porsche Esports Supercup. Run for the first time this year, the contest was conducted in collaboration with iRacing, a leading online racing sim. After its successful launch, the Porsche Esports Supercup will continue in 2020.